Does Exercising in a Mask Cause Maskne to Skyrocket? A Top Dermatologist Weighs In

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Does Exercising in a Mask Cause Maskne to Skyrocket? A Top Dermatologist Weighs In featured image
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Last Thursday, Cleveland Clinic produced an article about the best type of face mask to exercise in, only to teach us we’ve been doing things wrong this whole time. But when we hit the gym in full gear, how will this affect our dreaded maskne?

According to Cleveland infectious disease physician Kristin Englund, MD, you want to look for a face mask that fits tightly but sits higher up off your nose and mouth so you’re not sucking it in when you breathe. She also explains that several fitness brands such as Uniqlo and Adidas have released face masks specifically for working out, and they’re made with moisture-wicking, washable fabric that makes exercising in a mask doable.

However, when a face mask is tight around our faces while we’re sweating, the fear of breaking out in severe maskne sits on our shoulders. “Masks force heat and friction on the skin, and when this is combined with a moist environment from sweating or breathing, you have a recipe for breakouts,” says Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill. “In addition, the drawn-out buildup of heat and sweat can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and raw. There are other skin issues that stem from masks as well such as rosacea triggers, allergic contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis,” she adds.

Dr. Longwill’s biggest piece of advice? Avoid applying makeup, heavy moisturizers or oils before you hit the gym, as these are known to clog the pores even further. “I would also choose a fragrance-free detergent and always use a clean mask.”

“Depending on what you are experiencing, there are measures you can take for cleansing your skin after your workout, too. For example, I would recommend a glycolic cleanser and a non-comedogenic serum or moisturizer for acne breakouts,” says Dr. Longwill.

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